CMU School of Drama

Friday, April 07, 2017

History Of Ballet Costumes Video

New York City Ballet: If there's one thing you can do for yourself (or with someone else) that's not only pleasing to the eye, but good for the soul, it's treating yourself to a night at the ballet. Save for nights like prom, a wedding, or, say, the Met Gala, there's nothing quite like getting dressed up for a night of dance at NYC's Lincoln Center.

10 comments:

Taylor Steck said...

With the New York City Ballet being one of the only ballet companies in America to have their own costume shop I was really excited to maybe get to see and learn more in depth about this history, which unfortunately this article didn't really provide much insight to. However, the video of a very brief history was still entertaining and pleasing to the eye with its examples of older styles of the different costumes in the history of ballet from prominent areas for the art like Paris and Russia. It was also nice to see these costumes in motion, actually being worn by dancers dancing and not just seeing them in still photos or on a model who doesn't actually know ballet. Seeing this video makes me want to actually learn more of the details behind the costumes shown in the video as well as more about the difference between costumes for ballet and the costumes that we focus on here that are restricted to being in a theatre setting.

Vanessa Ramon said...

What a cool idea. Personally I love watching video's like this, video's that show you how something has changed throughout history. I do think that this method is a recent trend. Many companies like Buzzfeed and Mode have created several videos with this concept that seem to have been very successful. I think what makes the NYCB video different is the ballet aspect of it. The video does a great job of showcasing the choreography in the shows and makes the video that much more interesting. The festival itself sounds like a can't miss event. It would be really interesting to see these beautiful costumes in action in pieces that were equally influences by the history. Overall, the video itself can stand alone as a really cool piece of art that showcases the many ballet styles throughout history, but it does do a great job at sparking the audiences interest in the festival.

Zak Biggins said...

This video is so beautiful. Although I agree with Taylor regarding this article's depth, I do think the video was aesthetically pleasing and provided some visual insight on the different styles of costuming for ballet. I have always been intrigued by costuming for dance rather than for traditional musical theatre. I think that this specific style of costuming requires a significant amount of talent and understanding of the dancers art form/body. Costuming for the stage obviously has its complications but costuming for dance is an art form in itself- how do you design the clothing to be flattering yet accessible? My introduction to costuming for dance was when I watched Dance Light this year. I thought it was incredible to see how to costumes contributed and furthered the plots and the movements of the piece. This is absolutely a style of design I would love to learn more about.

Ali Whyte said...

I lve the fact that they put the costumes on actual dancers so that it really shows not only the clothes but how one might have moved and performed in them. I would really loved to have known the context, like a possible show or character, but I still loved the video nonetheless. I also really liked how they included various countries as well, not just one, to show. I thought if the article had been a bit stronger, it could have helped the video a little more, but I think the video was good enough to stand alone, especially because it was prefaced as a brief history of ballet. If they had tried to dub the video anything more, I think it would have definitely detracted from its credibility. I am a little confused as to the actual event itself, which if its anything like the video would be something I would definitely want to see.

Sarah Battaglia said...

I am obsessed with these time passing and fashion videos, I have watched so many of them for so many different styles and I am so happy that they are reaching the theater community. I think Ali is right that it adds to the video that the people are in the costumes because that is such an important part of ballet, not only how someone looks in the clothes but the way that they move in it, and making sure it maintains its look and integrity while someone is flying through the air. I like these videos because they always make me feel very small. I think about the amount of years I have been alive and that I only really know one country and that there is so much more to learn about, and so many more places that have theater and dance that is so different from what we know and think of as normal. It also makes me so excited for the future and to see what we can add to these videos in the next ten or fifty years because right now I can't even imagine and I am so ready to see the innovation.

Megan Jones said...

I wish that this video offered a more detailed look at ballet costume history, but I still liked watching it. It was great to see how not only clothing styles have changed, but movement styles as well. The first costume shown looked like it was made out of metal, which must have been much harder to move in than modern looks. I think it's really cool that ballet costumes are now moving more towards modern fashion trends and away from the traditional tutu look we all have in our heads. This might help to make ballet more accessible to younger audiences, as I think a lot people have the impression that the art form can be a little stuck in the past at times. There is nothing wrong with the traditional form of ballet, but I think that there's room for innovation and the New York City Ballet is taking a step in the right direction.

Cosette Craig said...

First of all, this video is very beautifully made. It’s very Wes Anderson esque and the, (maybe not so) coincidentally the director of this video, Justin Anderson, has the same last name so I wonder if they’re related. These design and culture through the ages videos have been very popular lately but this one stood out to me because it also included dance. As the years changed, you could see the form of the dancers changing to the orchestrations playing behind and the costumes paralleled the type and style of movement of the ballerinas. There were also fabric and structure changes that changed the posture and flexibility of the dancers but as the years progressed, the fabrics softened and so did the movement. I want to see this video with included historical context in terms of art, protest, and cultural expression of each age to give the pieces even more meaning.

Tahirah K. Agbamuche said...

Wow, what a treat! I agree wholeheartedly, there really is nothing like dressing up and attending the ballet. It is a lovely social event, and every time I see a ballet I myself want to fly. In terms of the video it was was a little short and for a feature that was supposed to tell history through costume, there was not very much time to look at the costume at all! That being said, I think that was a very interesting idea. I love seeing where we used to be and where we were now. People are doing amazing edgy things with ballet, but I hope we don't lose the beauty and tradition of it. Sometimes society just gets to excited about new ideas and evolution that we edit and reform to the point it is unrecognizable. I hope that we are able to keep classic ballet, for future generations sake.

Galen shila said...

i really enjoyed this video. It was really interesting to see how the fashion of the time effected the costume choice. Not only that but there where clear artistic movements seen in the costumes as well. Starting off with baroque i could point out modernist, minimalist and postmodern styles. I often dont think of ballet as something closely intertwined with artistic movements but the more thought i put into it the more i realize that this is true for all artistic forms. The style of dancing also reflected these movements which was intriguing. Also it seemed that as we moved into the modern era the costumes become more minimalist and abstract and what this dose the the viewer is it draws all the attention to the dancing. A lot of new ballets are more abstract and focus on the movements of the body rather than the costumes or the story. Overall this was a really cool video.

Katherine Sharpless said...

I agree with the other students who noted this video and article didn't go in depth enough. It was fun to see a flash of costumes growing contemporary along with the change of dance styles. But, costumes for ballet have such a wider range than what was represented in regards to detail and budget, location and culture, and the integration of artists of different disciplines. Everything in the video was European. Also, the article mentioned how fashion designers like Alexander McQueen and Iris Van Herpen (who's mesmerizing work is on display now at the CMoA) are now contributing to clothing on stage, but this is not a new phenomenon. I believe the brief 20 seconds of "Paris / 1914" in the video was referencing the Ballet Russes which featured during its prime costumes by Coco Chanel and Henri Matisse and sets by Picasso and much more. It's wonderful that the NYCB wants to highlight this collaboration, and the history of design, but the lack of depth in this article doesn't do the field justice.

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